Saturday, June 28, 2014

With Great Anxiety

Rise up, shrill in the night, at the beginning of every watch; Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord; Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your little ones Who faint from hunger at the corner of every street.  Lamentations 2:18-19

“Son, why have you done this to us?  Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”  And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me?  Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”  But they did not understand what he said to them.  He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. Luke 2:48b-51

Father, you prepared a fit dwelling place for the Holy Spirit in the Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  From that heart, her interior spirituality grew into an exterior life as she conceived, gave birth and raised her son. Graciously grant that through her intercession we may imitate her role model and also be a worthy temple of your piety, study and action.  Amen.

From the notes to the New American Bible:[i]
This chapter [from the Book of Lamentations] continues to move between the voice of the poet and that of personified Zion.  The persona of the poet, first portrayed in Lamentations chapter one as a detached observer recounting both the desolation as well as the sins of the city, becomes in this chapter an advocate for Zion in her appeal to the Lord and never once mentions her sins.

The poet urges Zion to appeal to the Lord once more on behalf of her dying children. The image of Zion’s children effectively condenses the metaphorical sense of all residents of the city (young and old alike) into the more poignant picture of actual children at the point of death. It was precisely this image, no doubt well known to survivors of besieged cities, that led to the emotional breakdown of both Zion and the poet. The hope is that the Lord will be similarly affected by such a poignant image and respond with mercy.

We know that the plea for the Lord to respond with mercy is realized and today’s feast day for the Immaculate Heart of Mary marks that realization.  Blessed with that clean heart, Mary willingly becomes the human vessel from which the Divine Lord emerges into the world and takes on his cloak of humanity. 

The Immaculate Heart of Mary is a devotional name used to refer to the interior life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, her joys and sorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections, and, above all, her virginal love for God the Father, her maternal love for her son Jesus, and her compassionate love for all persons.[ii]  According to historical records, in the midst of the second world war Pope Pius XII put the whole world under the special protection of our Savior's Mother by consecrating it to her Immaculate Heart, and in 1944 he decreed that in the future the whole Church should celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.[iii] 

In devotion to the Heart of Mary, study and imitation hold as important a place as love. Love is more the result than the object of the devotion, the object being rather to love God and Jesus better by uniting one's self to Mary for this purpose and by imitating her virtues.

How will you imitate and reflect the disposition of Mary in your world despite the anxiety you might feel?  Can you keep that anxiety in your heart and not express it to the world?   

No comments: